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Recent News and Announcements from Centre Partners

October, 16 2003

Centre Partners Management LLC Announces Acquisition of Assets and Operations of ESS Holdings Corporation, Emco Sales & Service, Inc., and Action Wholesale Service, Inc.

Centre Partners Management LLC Announces Acquisition of Assets and Operations of ESS Holdings Corporation, Emco Sales & Service, Inc., and Action Wholesale Service, Inc.

NEW YORK, NY, October 16, 2003 Private investment firm Centre Partners Management LLC and its affiliates (Centre Partners) today announced the acquisition of the assets and operations of ESS Holdings Corporation and its subsidiaries, EMCO Sales & Service Inc., and Action Wholesale Service, Inc. The acquisition was completed under a newly formed entity, ActionEmco Holdings LLC (ActionEmco), and headed by Centre Partners in collaboration with a management group led by office products industry veteran, Robert Scribner.

ActionEmco is the third largest wholesale distributor of office supplies and furniture in the United States. The company will operate under the names EMCO Distribution LLC and Action Distribution LLC, serving the Northeast and Midwest regions of the United States, respectively.

Under the terms of the purchase, Centre Partners and the management group formed ActionEmco Acquisition LLC and acquired, through the new company, the majority of the assets and ongoing trade liabilities of the regional wholesale distributor.

KeyBank National Association provided the company with a credit facility to assist in financing the acquisition and provide for ongoing working capital support. The transaction was completed on September 19, 2003. Additional terms were not disclosed.

Mr. Scribner has been appointed chief executive officer of the company. A seasoned executive in the office products sector with over 21 years of experience in wholesale distribution, as well as product marketing and manufacturing, his prior roles include president and chief operating officer of SP Richards Company, president and CEO of Esselte Office Products, and vice president and general manager of Hunt Corporation.

According to Centre Partners Managing Partner Bruce Pollack, the new ownership believes that there are significant opportunities to unlock and improve value in both the Action and Emco businesses. We are fortunate to be able to partner with a terrific management team at ActionEmco who have significant experience and a clear vision to develop this company into a solid long term investment opportunity in the office products distribution business, Pollack said.

Mr. Scribner added, ActionEmco has enormous forward opportunities in the geographic and product markets it serves. The company has a sharp focus on its customers and this will be further enhanced as the business grows under the new ownership. The Advantage Marketing Wholesalers Group, the national marketing group of the four largest regional wholesale distributors, will also benefit by the financial strengthening of a key member.

ActionEmco distributes a wide assortment of business products, including office supplies, office furniture, computer supplies, break room, janitorial supplies and Directors Select private label brand to office dealers in the Northeast and Midwest regions of the United States. The company also provides value-added marketing and logistics services to its customers. ActionEmco is a founding member of Advantage Marketing Wholesalers, a national marketing group of the four largest regional wholesale distributors.

Centre Partners, with offices in New York City and Los Angeles, is a private equity investment firm focused exclusively on supporting strong middle market companies. Founded in 1986, Centre Partners and it affiliates have invested over $3 billion of equity capital in more than 80 private equity transactions


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